It’s Twizzling

It has rained 47 of the last 52 days.  People have been sounding the alarm about possible drought for the past year.  I think we are past the danger.  All I know is that, if anyone starts yammering about “drought” right now, they will be drowned by the rain falling into their open mouths.

Before I run down to the shipyard to get the ark out of dry dock, let me put this soggy statistic in perspective.  Yes, the rain seems relentless, but it isn’t quite so dramatic as it might sound.  “Rain” can be anything from twenty minutes of the sky sweating around twilight to overpowering thunderstorms of Armageddon proportions.  It can be hours of pounding, blinding swirling walls of water that make you feel like you have been caught in a clothes washer. On the other hand, it can be a light, refreshing shower that is a blessed relief from the oppressive, humid heat that has boiled the day away.

It is hard to plan anything around the weather in the summer in Florida.  Clearly, people cannot stop their daily activities because the forecast calls for the ubiquitous “rain.”  Since the prediction calls for at least a 60% chance of rain almost every day and history shows that it actually does rain on far more than 60% of days, we would all have to zip-lock ourselves into our self-contained, air-conditioned houses if we are determined to avoid “rain.”  We have to be a little more creative if we want to strike a balance between hermetically sealed and waterlogged.

For one thing, savvy Floridians don’t just check the day-to-day forecast when making plans.  Our weather reporters give updates on the exact time they expect rain to hit specific city neighborhoods.  They are amazingly accurate.  We are also pretty sophisticated weather.com users.  It is commonplace to see people at Disney World huddled under canopies during rainstorms, feverishly working their phones to track the precipitation minute-by-minute to determine when they should make a dash for the Space Mountain line.

The real problem is beyond the timing issue.  It is that the word “rain” is just so ambiguous. They say the peoples of the frozen north have dozens or even hundreds of words for snow.  People who live in central Florida should have at least that many words  for rain. It would make it so much easier to plan my activities if I knew just how intrusive the day’s particular rain is expected to be. I’d like to propose a few new vocabulary words to help clarify the peskiness level of rain.

Twizzling– This is the soft, warm rain that falls like the sun nearly every night around twilight.  If you are inside, you might not even realize it is raining.  If you are outside, it takes a minute to realize that the moisture you feel is actually droplets of precipitation, as opposed to the sweat that has been gathering on your skin all freakin’ day.  Twizzling is good.  No significant peskiness quotient at all, unless you just washed your car.  And if you did just wash your car, what were you thinking?

Soggifying– This rain is prolonged and intermittent.  It isn’t hard enough to impair visibility.  It doesn’t involve ferocious wind or chilly drenching. Still, if you go out in the soggify, you are going to be uncomfortable unless you can hide under an umbrella. You usually can’t wait it out because it may go on for hours.  It is sneaky, too. It may seem like it is over, but will start up again twenty minutes after clearing.  Super high peskiness factor.   There is just no getting around it.  Soggifying will pretty much put a crimp in any plans that don’t involve just staying home.

Tantraining­– The skies darken menacingly and thunder booms alarmingly.  It seems to come from nothing and looks a lot scarier than it is.  There may be a few flashes of lightning, culminating in a short, feverish burst of angry rain.  The whole thing reminds me of a toddler throwing a hissy fit…loud, explosive, and over as suddenly as it began.  Tantraining is pesky while it is happening, but is usually over within 30 minutes.

Stealthsoaking- This is the “Camelot” version of rain… it never falls till after sundown and by eight am the morning dew must disappear.  Many nights, the skies open gently and a slow, steady rain waters the earth while most of us are sleeping. It is the sort of rain that would cause Lerner and Loewe to suggest that there is simply not a more congenial spot for happilyeveraftering than central Florida. Stealthsoaking is a pretty darn convenient kind of rain with a low peskiness quotient… unless you work the swing shift or engage in midnight gardening activities.

Thunderwowers– These are the terrible, wrathful thunderstorms that make the earth slosh.  They feel as though they are never going to stop.  The sound of the thunder makes you think that you have happened into a time warp and World War I is still under way except that they didn’t fight World War I underwater.  The rain is so thick and choppy, driving becomes more of an adventure than it should be.  You can’t see what is in front of you, but can’t pull off to the side of the road to wait for a break in the storm because you can’t see what is on the side of you either.

I think that adding these words to our weather language would help meteorologists be a lot more specific in reporting the rain forecast.  I’d like to champion their inclusion, but I’m not sure where to go to propose them.  Apparently, everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it!

What is the wackiest weather you have ever experienced?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Stay dry!

Terri 🙂

 

 

News Flash- We Interrupt our Regular Programming to Report….

Fall finally fell.

 It took its own sweet time about doing so, I have to say.  It was such a momentous occasion, I took note of the date.  Fall fell on December 9th. Until then, Fall had not so much as stumbled.  Temperatures still hovered around the 90-degree mark.  The air was still humid enough to drink.

I was starting to take it as a personal affront.  Around the time the calendar said that Fall was beginning, Max bought me a beautiful autumnal sweatshirt.  It was a gorgeous shade of rust, richly embroidered with multi-colored leaves.  When I was looking at it in the store, I sighed sadly and said, “I love this, but it is much too hot to even think about putting it on.  If I wore this, it would literally become a SWEATshirt inside of ten seconds.  It will never be cool enough to wear it.”  Max replied, “Someday it will be” and purchased the garment for me.

Since that time, lo those many weeks ago, it has hung in my closet, silently chiding me for wasting his money.  When I look for something to wear in the mornings, my eyes immediately light on its beautiful color, but, almost as immediately, I remember that it is once again a hot, humid summer day IN NOVEMBER. I have really, really wanted to wear that shirt, but the season just wouldn’t cooperate.   I wanted to stick my leg out and trip Fall.

On December 9th, however, Fall not only fell, but tumbled down so hard and fast, I’m surprised it did not break a hip.  I got up to go to water aerobics class and got halfway there before I remembered that they don’t have class when the temperature goes below 50 degrees.  It was easy to forget that fact because I seem to remember the class being called on account of cold only once all last winter.  Besides, the day before, it was in the eighties.  Can you blame me for being confused?  You might ask whether it was really necessary for there to be an actual policy cancelling class in sub-50-degree weather for me to realize that submerging myself in water when the air temperature is 46 degrees is not a great idea.  You have a valid point.  Maybe I was just a bureaucrat for way too many years.  Or maybe I’ve just forgotten what “cold” is.

The temperature was all anyone was talking about on December 9th.  Everywhere I went, I heard people remarking on what they were doing when they realized the morning started with temperatures in the forties and that the day’s high temperature was about 25 degrees less than the day before.  I half expected to turn on the news and have the anchor announce, “It is not hot.  I repeat, it is NOT hot.  Film at eleven.” 

As the day progressed, however, the “not hot” front dissipated.  Fall sort of peeped its head out of summer, but retreated just as quickly.  The temperature rose and people discarded the sweaters that were seeing the light of day for the first time since last February.   Four days later, the temperatures approached 90 degrees once more. The “Fall” seemed to have been like those falls that world class figure skaters have when attempting difficult jumps- if there is a stumble towards the beginning, the skater has the opportunity to pick herself back up quickly and gracefully and resume the routine so that, by the time the program is over, the audience is wondering if there had ever truly been a fall at all.  At any rate, my sweatshirt is still hanging in my closet in pristine condition. 

How many degrees does it take to change the season?  Only a few, but the season has to really want to change.

Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it!  Does the weather seem wacky to you?  Have you had to adjust to a new climate when you’ve moved?  What has that been like for you?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a sunny day… both weather-wise and in every other way!

Terri 🙂

And the Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down

Summer in the American southeast!   The snowbirds have gone home and I don’t have to arrive at church half an hour early to get a seat.  I don’t have to plan on eating dinner at 4:00pm in order to avoid waiting in a restaurant for several hours. 

 On the other hand, the summer weather has hit.  The temperature and the humidity are the same number on an almost daily basis.  And that number starts with a “9.”  As Max says, we live in God’s hot tub.  You don’t so much breathe the air as drink it.  They say ladies don’t sweat.  Horses sweat.  Men perspire.  Ladies glow.  If that is so, I believe I glow brightly enough to be seen from space. 

 We eat dinner to the dulcet tones of the weather alarm radio, squawking dire warnings at us about the damage that can be done by winds over 50 miles per hour.  I wondered if there would be lightning bugs in this area.  I haven’t seen any lightning bugs, but I have certainly seen lightning.  In fact, the thunder and lightning regularly convince me that someone finally invented the Way-Back Machine and we’ve landed in World War I France. 

 As someone who grew up in a place where we barely knew what rain was, it is interesting to live in a place where rain- in fact an abundance of rain- is just the way things are.  No one seems to have an ark in the driveway, but it certainly feels like one will be necessary at any time.  The thing about this state is that it CAN rain any time and, sometimes, it does. 

 Now that the summer is here, those “sometimes” are much more frequent.  We have a thunderstorm or two in our general vicinity almost every day.  They last from five minutes to an hour or so.  The other day, I went out to get my nails done.  As I left the nail shop, I got caught in a cloudburst.  In the time it took me to get to the car, I was so soaked that the dye from my blue suede shoes had steeped into my feet.  Not only did this deluge ruin my shoes, I looked like a smurf from the ankles down for the next two days.  I remember the first time I was out when I actually felt unsafe driving because of the weather.  I would have pulled over, except I couldn’t see anything in any direction.  I felt it was only slightly less likely I would run into something directly ahead of me than that I would run into something if I moved to the side.  When it isn’t actually raining, I often think of the weather as “oozing.”  The air can’t hold all the moisture and dampness seems to be literally seeping from the atmosphere. 

 Where I came from, people called in absent from work at the first sign of a raindrop.  Here, people do arduous outdoor work, soaked in rain and sweat.  If they stopped for weather, nothing would ever get done.  When there is lightning, the workers cover what they are doing, sit in their vehicles for a while, and are back at it immediately as soon as the sky is quiet again.  Supermarkets keep a supply of loaner umbrellas so people won’t get wet if a shower starts while they are in the store.  I believe the region’s economy would come to a standstill if rain stopped anyone from buying groceries at any time.

 When it rains, people don disposable ponchos and continue whatever recreational activity they are doing.  They consider it an imposition to get out of the pool or off a lake, despite the desperate warnings of that weather alarm radio screeching about lightning strikes.  Here are some famous potentially last words I heard at the pool earlier this week- “That isn’t really thunder.  It isn’t loud enough.”  I was listening to the news one day and the weather guy cautioned that there was going to be thunderstorms on the Fourth of July.  He went on to inform us that the rain might be over by fireworks time, so people should go ahead with their plans and just bring an umbrella.  Great…. A bunch of people sitting in a central Florida storm holding their own personal lightning rods. Fireworks might not be the only thing lighting up those displays.

 We are in “hurricane season” (not the most comforting of monikers, admittedly).  We live pretty far from any coast, so actual hurricanes are rather rare in our community.  However, whether you call it a hurricane, tropical storm, thunder warning, or just precipitation, it is more rain than I’ve seen in forever. 

 I have to admit the thunder is a bit unnerving.  It can actually rattle our very solid little house, even without a hurricane.  I remember parents telling frightened children that the thunder and lightning were “just the angels having a party up in heaven.” 

 I beg to differ.

 Those angels are pissed off. 

What do you think?  Is summer where you live a nightly light show?  Or do you have other impressions of the seasons?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.  Have a great day.  Stay dry!

Terri 🙂